The impact we’re having: Stephanie Hofielen of From the Ground Up
By rob hopkins 4th April 2014
From the Ground Up (FGU) was launched in March 2010 by Transition Town Kingston with the mission to bring affordable, local organic fresh food to our communities. Dissatisfied with the limited variety, variable quality and high cost of fresh organic food from our conventional sources, Transition Town Kingston took action.
FGU was built on these principles:
- Supply a wide variety of fresh fruit & veg and more that are either certified organic, in conversion to organic and/or naturally produced without pesticides
- Offer food below market prices, making it affordable to most, not a luxury for the few
- Only sell food that is seasonal and local when possible with preference given to UK suppliers and nearby European countries only
- Provide a positive shopping experience by having an online shop and not requiring a minimum purchase or needing to buy a box. This minimises food wastage by customers only buying what they want, not what is given them
- Customers collect their food rather than FGU delivering it, minimizing the need to build an expensive infrastructure
- Build a community of like minded individuals through public engagement, social activities and voluntary working
Four years and over 350 supporters later, FGU has not deviated from its original mandate. Today we work from two venues on alternate weeks with teams of enthusiastic volunteers lovingly packing customer orders.
We believe FGU’s main impact on the community is the breaking down of financial barriers to buying organic food. Many of our customers have told us that whilst they agree with the principles underpinning organic food, the prices in the shops make it prohibitive to support organic farming. Our proximity to London makes it very difficult to either find and/or buy from a local organic farm. So, FGU with its main supplier, Choice Organics, bring the farms to Kingston, making quality local organic food available.
FGU is also selling items from local producers (e.g. honey, bread) and is a buying group for SUMA, the UK’s largest wholesaler of ethical products. This combined with the fresh food from FGU can offer a person the opportunity to not buying as much from other conventional shops.
Overall, FGU’s impact on the community is a positive one. We earned ‘Commended’ from the Time & Leisure Eat & Drink Awards 2013 for SW London & Surrey, and from the Kingston Business Excellence Council for “Best Green Business 2013”. Here is a video about us: